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learning, conceptualizing + communicating data with infographics, visualizations, etc...
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How the U.S. Maps the World's Most Disputed Territories

How the U.S. Maps the World's Most Disputed Territories | visual data | Scoop.it

When the United States decides to recognize a new government, or an existing country changes its name, Leo Dillon and his team at the State Department spring into action.

Dillon heads the Geographical Information Unit, which is responsible for ensuring the boundaries and names on government maps reflect U.S. policy. The team also keeps an eye on border skirmishes and territorial disputes throughout the world and makes maps that are used in negotiating treaties and truces. 

Dillon’s been at the State Department since 1986, and he says his job remains as fun as ever. “The landscape of political geography is constantly changing,” he said. “Every day I come in here and there’s something new.” We spoke with Dillon to learn more about it...

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Open Data Emerges as a Global Movement

Open Data Emerges as a Global Movement | visual data | Scoop.it

“Open data” — the philosophy and practice of making the data collected by government agencies freely available to the public — is critical to increasing citizens’ engagement with their governments. Since 2010, hundreds of nations, regions, and cities across the world have launched their own open data initiatives.

For example, datacatalogs.org maintains centralized lists of local, regional, and national data catalogs. Europe is heavily represented: nearly every country publishes open data, geospatial files and maps and statistics. Within each nation, local councils, regional governments, and autonomous regions are publishing their own locally-relevant open data. Spain, Italy, and France each boast over a dozen internal data catalogs created by local agencies...

Whether or not open data portals eventually lead to open, transparent, and accountable democratic governments is still up for debate, but they remain indispensable to the citizens, researchers, and journalists using data from these sites.


Read the complete post for a better understanding of open data in a concise, yet informative article with numerous links and specific initiatives referenced for further research...

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Johnson Watts's comment, October 2, 2012 10:35 AM
It's not the size of government that counts. It's the transparency, agility, and democracy of goverment that matters.
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New MIT Media Lab Tool Lets Anyone Visualize Unwieldy Government Data

New MIT Media Lab Tool Lets Anyone Visualize Unwieldy Government Data | visual data | Scoop.it

DataViva, a project developed in part by Media Lab professor Csar Hidalgo, aims to make a wide swath of government economic data usable with a series of visualization apps.

In the four years since the U.S. government created data.gov, the first national repository for open data, more than 400,000 datasets are available online from 175 agencies. Governments all over the world have taken steps to make data more transparent and available. But in practice, much of that data--accessible as spreadsheets through sites like data.gov--is incomprehensible to the average person.

DataViva offers web apps that turn those spreadsheets into something more comprehensible for the average user. The site, which officially launched last week, has lofty goals: to visualize data encompassing the entire Brazilian economy over the last decade, with more than 100 million interactive visualizations that can be created at the touch of a button in a series of apps. The future of open government isn't just dumping raw datasets onto a server: It's also about making those datasets digestible for a less data-savvy public.

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